Messenger has added some new features to help users celebrate Black History Month, including new stickers for both Messenger and Messenger Kids, and a new initiative to help boost Black creators, and share the stories of influential people in the Black community.
The main project is a new video series which aims to amplify conversation around Black History, and the impact of the Black community on modern culture.
As explained by Messenger:
“In the coming weeks, we’ll celebrate the stories of Black voices, artists, and small businesses that make an impact and inspire us all – with the goal of sparking conversation. Not just this February but everyday, we hope to encourage people to talk about stories that inspire them.”
The key emphasis here is that Messenger wants to inspire greater conversation around the influence of Black culture more broadly, as opposed to an isolated celebration for Black History Month.
That’s important, because while great strides have been made in improving racial inequity, significant barriers remain, and often Black creators are not credited with the full scope of their presence, due to systemic limitations.
These new video stories aim to better highlight these creators, and showcase their stories, helping to provide more understanding and insight.
In addition to this, Messenger’s also adding some new stickers, designed in collaboration with artist Jon Key
Messenger Kids users can also take part in the event, with stickers and frames that encourage young users to celebrate Black history.
It’s important for each social platform to acknowledge Black History Month, with their reach and exposure potential facilitating greater awareness, helping to advance the conversation, and get more people to consider their perspective on societal divides.
By highlighting these elements, especially among younger users, Messenger, and parent company Meta more broadly, can play a part in shifting established narratives, and eliminating barriers that many aren’t even aware exist.
The new Black History Month stickers are now live in Messenger and Messenger Kids while the Messenger newsroom will host further video updates and features throughout the month.
Reddit Adds Images in Comments for Selected Communities
Reddit’s adding a new engagement option with images in comments now available within some 1,500 subreddits in the app.
Just as it sounds, some subreddits will now be able to switch on image posting within comment threads, providing another way for people to interact and share within these communities. Reddit also enabled GIFs in selected subreddits back in July.
As explained by Reddit:
“Ever wanted to share a candid cat pic in the latest r/cats thread? Perhaps, help out a fellow r/crochet hobbyist? Or maybe even fulfill a father’s dream of being hugged by sasquatch in r/photoshoprequest? If so, this feature is for you!”
Here’s how it looks in practice (on desktop):
As noted, it’s another way to facilitate interaction within Reddit’s highly active chat threads, which could help add context in various ways.
Though it won’t be available to all communities.
Reddit says that ‘not safe for work’ images are not allowed and will be automatically removed, with only selected, approved subreddits able to use the feature at this stage.
“In SFW subreddits that turn on the feature, you’ll notice an image icon at the bottom panel of the comment section. Tap the image icon (see video below) to pull up your camera roll or desktop files, make any edits you want (on mobile only), and upload.”
It’s a simple, and potentially engaging feature update, which could help Reddit drive more interaction.